Abbotsforward was an initiative to update one of our City’s most important tools – one that influences the way our community grows and develops today and tomorrow. That tool is the Official Community Plan (OCP).
On June 27, 2016, Council adopted the new Official Community Plan created through the Abbotsforward process. While that process is now complete, today, the OCP's implementation is underway. Below you'll find much of the information related to how the new OCP was developed, including summaries of each four stages.
Before creating a vision for tomorrow, we must understand how our city functions today. Launched at the Canada Day celebrations on July 1, 2014, Stage 1 explored existing conditions in Abbotsford, reviewed existing City plans and strategies, and provided early community engagement activities.
The Background Research Report summarized the work done in Stage 1 and included a variety of information including demographic data; residential, commercial, and industrial inventory; and projections. The analysis was supplemented by relating Abbotsford's existing conditions to elements of great cities. Much of this information formed the basis of the project as it progressed.
Also during this stage, a motion graphic video was created to help explain what an OCP is and how it affects all residents.
An essential part of creating a powerful vision involves listening to residents’ ideas about the future. To do this, Stage 2 focused on extensive community engagement, including an online survey, road show events, citizen circles, and neighbourhood walks.
Paired with the work completed in Stage 1, the results from the community engagement helped create a New Concepts Report that described an early vision with 7 Big Ideas. They became essential ingredients around which the new OCP was developed.
On February 25, 2015, a speaker event was held at The Reach Gallery Museum where Brent Toderian, renowned urban planner, and Jeffrey Tumlin, expert transportation planner, gave their thoughts on Abbotsford’s future. A full recording of the evening is available, as well as a highlights video.
Planning for a city of 200,000 presents both opportunities and challenges. Stage 3 was all about accounting and planning for an additional 60,000 residents. In order to make an informed choice about how the city should grow, options were created to ‘land’ the next 60,000 in three different ways: continuing to build the 2005 OCP; supporting many neighbourhood centres; and focusing on creating a city centre.
In a Stage 3 interim report entitled 3 Ways the Grow, different community elements and City infrastructure were used to compare the growth options. Community elements were more qualitative in nature, including things like proximity to groceries or jobs. City infrastructure was more financial in nature, studying the costs associated with four areas: transportation, water, sanitary and drainage.
With a better understanding of how the different growth options compared to each other, the information was used to engage the community once again about their preferences. The results from the research and engagement formed the basis for the new OCP and land use plan.
On April 4, 2016, a draft OCP was presented to Council which marked the end of Stage 3.
Putting together a document like an OCP is a complex task and not everything was right the first try. Stage 4 allowed for final feedback to be received from residents and stakeholders, all of which helped refine the Plan into a final version.
Throughout the Abbotsforward project, almost 8,000 interactions with residents were had, making it one of the most robust community engagement activities the City of Abbotsford has ever completed.
On May 9, 2016, Council gave 1st & 2nd readings to the draft OCP Bylaw. Following this, referrals were sent to First Nations and governmental agencies and ministries.
On June 20, 2016, a Public Hearing was held and on June 27, 2016, Council gave 3rd and final readings, adopting the OCP Bylaw.
View the Official Community Plan and see how it's being implemented!